101 in 1001

According to some clever Unix timestamp manipulation, 1001 days from now it will be November 4, 2013. According to some clever folks on the Internets, 1001 days is a convenient amount of time to get some serious stuff accomplished. And according to a Georgia Tech alumna, former colleague and travel companion, and friend of mine, it is a perfect opportunity to spread the message about getting 101 concrete tasks done. Here’s the gist:

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (i.e. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (i.e. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days?
Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple challenges such as New Year’s resolutions or a ‘Bucket List’. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

This is cool, because while my New Year’s resolutions were fairly important, they were also more open-ended and ambiguous. In this format, I can an Agile-esque approach to my daily life, creating subtasks, empirically evaluating progress, and checking off items over time.

So without further adieu, here is my 101 items to accomplish in 1001 days (using tomorrow as the starting point, so with a concluding day of November 11, 2013).


  1. Have a functioning version of Stewiebot up and running, written from scratch, which can start a game and expertly manufacture and maneuver at least 1 type of unit.
  2. 6/17/2011 (deployed) Modify the hmmBOT to be more intelligent, via engaging in conversations, sending direct messages, and constructing more coherent posts (perhaps using the web crawler in #6).
  3. Make the WordPress Synchronizer WP 3.0-compliant.
  4. (10-605, Spring 2013) Complete all outstanding issues with the Eigencuts implementation on Mahout (issues 516, 517, 518, 524, and any other necessary fixes).
  5. (10-605, Spring 2013) Set up a virtual testing environment and deploy Eigencuts on it, as well as on EC2, to compare performance to a separate parallel Eigencuts implementation.
  6. Resurrect the C HTTP server and create a web crawler.
  7. Write and deploy a mobile app (e.g. for Android, iPhone).
  8. 3/2/2011 (done) Get a dual-video card CrossFire setup functioning at acceptable temperatures.
  9. 5/1/2011 (done) Get a 3-monitor setup working (dependent on #8).
  10. Experiment with CUDA programming at least once.
  11. Experiment with at least one wholly new programming language/framework (Go, Haskell, C#, etc).
  12. Become comfortable with Matlab, i.e. Python and Matlab skills reach parity.
  13. Complete a teaser video to go with #73 (e.g. Fraps + Sins of a Solar Empire + Red Alert 3).
  14. Update the Quickstart page for the Apache Mahout project.
  15. Master the Firegestures Firefox addon.
  16. Complete a few Project Euler puzzles.
  17. Make it to the 2nd round of a Google Codejam competition.


  1. Be published in one of the following: Nature, Science, Cell, or NIPS.
  2. Publish a paper on the comparison from #5 (co-authors Isabel and Chakra).
  3. 4/12/2011 (unsuccessful) Come up with a Ph.D. thesis idea that unifies the work and specialties of Drs. Chennubhotla and Murphy, as well as my own ideas for imaging in a distributed environment.
  4. Successfully defend this thesis proposal by December 2012.
  5. Apply and be accepted for an external fellowship (e.g. NIH, NSF, DoE, DoD, Google).
  6. 9/5/2012 – 9/6/2012 (Medical Imaging Conference) Attend at least one conference for which I am NOT a speaker or presenter.
  7. 2/15/2011 (BSEC 2011) Have a paper of mine accepted to a conference.
  8. Co-publish at least one paper with my Dad.
  9. Publish a paper in an area of computational biology outside of imaging.
  10. Win the departmental award for best graduate teaching assistant.


  1. Visit at least one country outside the U.S. I have visited previously (e.g. Australia, Spain, England, France, Germany, Italy).
  2. 11/13/2011 (Vancouver, BC) Visit at least one country outside the U.S. I have NOT visited previously (e.g. New Zealand, Greece, Austria, Portugal, Israel, Sweden, Poland).
  3. 5/25/2011 (Louisiana) Visit a state I’ve been to before (NOT for a conference or other job-related activity).
  4. 10/15/2011 (West VA) Visit a state I have NOT been to before (NOT for a conference or other job-related activity).
  5. Attend a live showing of Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
  6. Attend ComicCon at least once (registration opens in EARLY FEBRUARY).
  7. Visit home for at least one of each parent and sibling’s birthdays [0/4].
  8. 10/15/2011 (West VA with Christie and Sam) Go camping at least once.
  9. Go skiing at least once.
  10. 7/27/2011 (Google Intern kayaking) Go kayaking at least once.
  11. Go river rafting on ≥ class 3 rapids at least once.
  12. Go boating (includes jet-skiing).


  1. Attend mass at least six times in one month [0/6].
  2. Pray at least once per day.
  3. Attend Catholic Action Underground every Sunday night for four consecutive weeks [0/4].


  1. 03/31/2012 (Just A Short Run) Run a half-marathon under 1:50:00.
  2. 04/22/2012 (Burgh Pizza 10K) Run a 10K under 45:00.
  3. Run a 5K under 20:00.
  4. Run a 1.5M under 9:00.
  5. Bench at least 260 lbs.
  6. 02/27/2012 (1/30 – 2/24) Conduct at least five full workouts per week over four weeks [20/20].
  7. Play a round of tennis with somebody.
  8. Attend Saturday morning fencing at least once.
  9. 02/25/2012 (Spring Thaw) Record at least one 20+ mile run.
  10. 09/21/2012 – 9/22/2012 (Ragnar DC 2012) Run in Ragnar or Hood to Coast.
  11. 03/31/2012 (March 2012: 100.24mi) Run 100 miles in one month.
  12. 2/27/2012 (Devin!) Find a new semi-regular racquetball partner (in the wake of Ben’s departure).
  13. 12/19/2011 (12/2 – 12/19) Over the course of one month, erg 50,000 meters.
  14. (Lent 2013) Brush/floss/mouthwash every day for two weeks [14/14].
  15. (Lent 2013) Be in bed by 10pm, awake by 6am every weekday for four weeks [20/20].
  16. 6/2/2011 (May 2-June 2, 2011) Stay away from coffee for one month.
  17. Make my own lunch and dinner every weekday for four weeks [0/20].
  18. Reserve one night per week over three (not necessarily consecutive) months, devoting a few hours to electronic-less puzzles (e.g. Sudoku, Crosswords, algorithms, other sorts of puzzles found in Games) [0/3].


  1. Pay off at least 20% of my total principal across all loans.
  2. 10/25/2011 (Mint.com) Create and stick to a budget which allows for monthly deposits in savings, in investments, and loan payments.
  3. Plan out all major purchases (e.g. iPad, monitor, etc) at the start of each semester to help with #62.
  4. Open a 2nd Vanguard account.
  5. 10/25/2011 (Mint.com works just as well) Track all my financial accounts at least monthly through a manually-maintained spreadsheet.
  6. 11/1/2011 (Oct 2011) Spend one winter month without turning on the heat (October-April).
  7. 6/1/2011 (May 2011) Spend one summer month without turning on the AC (May-September).
  8. 4/10/2012 (magsol.me) Reset my domain name registration for something far more reasonable than the current $40+/year (with Yahoo or otherwise).
  9. 6/1/2011 (Permanently canceled) Cancel my cable TV for at least three months (e.g. a summer).
  10. Tithe each week for three consecutive months [0/3].
  11. 10/31/2011 (done) Sign up for e-billing on my electricity and internet bills.


  1. 7/6/2011 (7 books) Average reading >1 book of fiction every 6 months.
  2. Complete a manuscript of my novel.
  3. Do a NaNoWriMo to help with #73 (though it doesn’t have to be during a November).
  4. Vote in a local election.
  5. Get a PA driver’s license (will facilitate #75).
  6. 10/29/2011 (Sam Flynn and Quorra) Dress up as something for at least one Halloween.
  7. Attend a formal swing dancing event at least once per year [0/3].
  8. Take lessons on at least one new form of dance (e.g. Foxtrot, Tango, etc).
  9. Watch the entire Firefly series, start to finish.
  10. 4/23/2011 (done) Purchase a blender.
  11. After #81, learn to make a margarita at home (yes, blatantly stole this one from Sweta’s list #64; what can I say, it’s a great idea!).
  12. Have at least 1 accepted answer on StackOverflow on a question that isn’t mine, and which is also the most highly-upvoted answer.
  13. Update at least one of my three primary blogs at least once per week, with no blog going un-updated for longer than 27 days (just under 4 weeks) for 3 months [0/3].
  14. 9/7/2011 (evening of 9/6/2011) Schedule a probability/statistics review with Rumi.
  15. Get a friggin’ BAG OF CRAP.
  16. (Lent 2013) Refrain from posting on or about anything remotely politics-related for three months [3/3].
  17. 6/1/2011 (May 11-June 1, 2011) Kick Keeley‘s ass in Zero Punctuation postings four consecutive weeks [4/4].
  18. Finish reading The Eternal Golden Braid.
  19. 6/21/2011 (Helm’s Deep) Hold out for a Silver medal in any Left 4 Dead 2 Survival campaign.
  20. 6/28/2011 (Helm’s Deep) Hold out for a Gold medal in any Left 4 Dead 2 Survival campaign.
  21. Read Kant’s Critique of Judgment.
  22. Read Code Complete.
  23. Write at least one letter to the PC Gamer editors that is printed in the magazine.
  24. Prune my Facebook friends list.
  25. 10/23/2011 (Murat Can’s birthday) Help plan a surprise birthday party.
  26. Go on a date at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
  27. (Lent 2013) Don’t post a single tweet for one month.
  28. (Lent 2013) Don’t log onto Facebook for one month.
  29. 2/20/2012 (Danimal!) Send somebody an “11/12 Pi Day” pie.
  30. Make another “101 in 1001” list in 2013!

About Shannon Quinn

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11 Responses to 101 in 1001

  1. Cathryn says:

    I have one more for you: Learn the definition of “in lieu of” as soon as humanly possible.

    Can’t wait for our zoo date. 🙂 Unless you were planning on taking someone else… 😥

    • magsol says:

      I don’t know why I keep using “in lieu of” to mean “in the wake of”–since I do know what they mean and have used them both correctly many times–but I changed it.

      Definitely planning on taking the young woman who mentioned the fact that there are baby giant cats there 😉

  2. Colin says:

    Come visit Blacksburg, VA. Cross that state thing off your list. We could knock out camping or skiing too lol

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  4. VerteDinde says:

    I’m commenting on this almost creepily late, but Cathryn just mentioned it as we were chatting on Gchat, and I think it’s a great idea, which I may nab from you. 😛 Congrats on having so many goals already crossed off!

    Also, speaking personally, #88 is my favorite goal.

    • magsol says:

      Psh, the post is sticky’d, it’s only creepily late when the last comment is over a year old.

      …oh. Right, then!

      I think it is pretty neat! Unfortunately, as challenging as some of the things I’ve crossed off were, I almost feel as though–comparatively–they were the easier ones. #1 is going to be so freaking hard, as will #18, and I’m pretty sure #61 is an outright impossibility at this point (within the specified timeline). Oh, and #86 literally never happens to any real person. They just say it does so we’ll get our hopes up.

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